The Corner

Cover Oregon Flirting with Other IT Contractors, State Health Tech Chief Resigns

Oregon’s Obamacare exchange, which still doesn’t have a functioning website, has run into even more problems.

The work done by Oracle, the contractor selected to build the exchange’s website, has been so unsatisfactory that the exchange has withheld $20 million in payments (after paying the firm more than $160 million) and has reached out to other contractors, including the Boston-based Exeter Group, a company it turned down multiple times in favor of Oracle.

Exeter built the consumer portion of the Hawaii and Vermont websites, both of which have had serious difficulties but are operational.

Meanwhile, Carolyn Lawson, the chief technology officer of the Oregon Health Authority, has resigned, though ostensibly for personal reasons. Her agency had been in charge of the website’s development through this May; when the exchange took over, it became immediately apparent that it wasn’t being properly constructed.

Lawson was the official who picked Oracle as the website contractor, but decided to have the state manage the operation overall. She has worked with Oracle previously, including during her time at two separate California State agencies, and spoke in 2011 and 2012 at OpenWorld, the tech giant’s annual trade show — though she maintains she received no compensation.

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